Alleged gang member stuns court and decides to reject plea deal, stand trial in teen's death

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Wednesday, January 24, 2024
Man stuns court after rejecting plea deal in death of 14 year old
Joe Torres is in Queens with the story.

SOUTH JAMAICA, Queens (WABC) -- A man charged in the 2019 fatal shooting of an innocent 14-year-old boy playing basketball was expected to formally plead guilty on Wednesday but apparently changed his mind.

Sean Brown, an alleged gang member, is believed to have mistook Aamir Griffin for a rival on Oct. 26, 2019.

Griffin was on the court at the Baisley Park Houses in South Jamaica when he was fatally struck.

The Queens District Attorney and her team of investigators were in court Wednesday to hear Brown formally accept a plea deal, but they never got it.

In a last-minute decision, Brown changed his mind and decided to take his chances at trial.

"It's a process and he's entitled to the process and he's going to take that opportunity, so here we are, everybody is entitled to their day in court and he wants his," said defense attorney Camille Russell.

He will be tried on two separate indictments, one charging him with first-degree manslaughter and second-degree conspiracy in the case of the shooting death of Griffin; the other with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

The plea deal was for 30 years. He now faces two trials and the possibility of 40 years behind bars.

Next month, he will stand trial on the gun possession charge.

During a news conference in March of 2023, the district attorney said following Griffin's death, a feud between gangs resulted in 22 more shootings -- one of them fatal.

A three-year investigation resulted in a 151-count indictment against 33 reputed gang members.

According to prosecutors, one of those gang members was Brown, who apparently told investigators he would enter a guilty plea and accept the 30-year sentence.

"For the murder of Aamir Griffin, Sean Brown is facing 25 years, for carrying a gun he is facing 15 years, his exposure is 40 years to life," Katz said. "He has chosen to go to trial. We have an extremely strong case and we look forward to presenting the evidence."

RELATED | NYPD, teammates of slain teen use basketball to honor his memory, crack down on guns

Aamir Griffin's former teammates and the NYPD used basketball to honor his memory and to urge people to speak up if someone they know has a gun. Jim Dolan has the details.


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